PHOTO: The lanes will feature automatic bin dispensers and conveyors. (Photo via Flickr/Justice Ender)
Trusted-travelers programs and biometrics have thankfully begun to ease the pain of long airport security lines, but automation represents another key step toward a solution and a major airport in the Midwest is the latest to embrace it.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will install automated security lanes designed to speed up the boarding process.
Earlier this month the Metropolitan Airports Commission approved a $1.6 million investment in automated security lanes capable moving passengers through screening at a rate 10 to 40 percent faster. The new system, which relies on automatic bin dispensers and conveyors, is expected to be up and running by the summer.
"From the little bit of data we've seen from other airports, they are showing quite an increase in efficiencies," said the Metropolitan Airports Commission's director of airport development Bridget Rief. "People are able to process faster through the system."
The new equipment will be installed in the center four lanes of the south security checkpoint in Terminal 1. The stations will feature a bin dispenser that will allow air travelers to load their items faster. Once loaded, the bins are rolled through an x-ray machine.
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The automated systems are already in place at a handful of major U.S. airports, including Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
After the automated security lanes are complete, the airport is expected to add more lanes leading to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening stations.
With more airports embracing automated security lanes and trusted-traveler programs like Clear expanding rapidly across the country, there appears to be some much-needed relief in sight.